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U.S. Government Demands ISP Data Retention 355

Posted by Zonk
from the put-up-or-shut-up dept.
dlc3007 writes to mention an article in the New York Times discussing data privacy. The article expands on the U.S. Government's 'request' last Friday at a meeting between Robert S. Mueller III, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, and the executives of several Internet Service Providers. The ISPs were required to retain data on users, for trials if subpoenaed. Right now they're asking companies to do this. The threat is that, if they don't comply, legislation will follow. From the article: "The Justice Department is not asking the Internet companies to give it data about users, but rather to retain information that could be subpoenaed through existing laws and procedures, Mr. Roehrkasse said. While initial proposals were vague, executives from companies that attended the meeting said they gathered that the department was interested in records that would allow them to identify which individuals visited certain Web sites and possibly conducted searches using certain terms." We originally covered this last Sunday, but more details have been released on the meeting since then.
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U.S. Government Demands ISP Data Retention

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:34AM (#15453297)
    From TFA:
    In its current proposal, the department appears to be trying to determine whether Internet companies will voluntarily agree to keep certain information or if it will need to seek legislation to require them to do so.
    Translation: Will we have to ram another law through Congress to make this happen, or can we achieve the same results through good old-fashioned coercion and intimidation? After all, if we have to pass a law, then we'll be constrained by the law's wording...but if we 'persuade' the Internet companies to retin this data for us 'voluntarily', then we can act without restraint or oversight...after all, it is 'voluntary'...

    So tell me again....why do the Internet companies have to retain so much data?

    From TFA (emphasis mine):
    "The investigation and prosecution of child predators depends critically on the availability of evidence that is often in the hands of Internet service providers," Mr. Gonzales said in remarks at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va. "This evidence will be available for us to use only if the providers retain the records for a reasonable amount of time," he said.
    Ah yes...yet another shameless use of the 'Lovejoy Gambit'. If you oppose this data retention, you must hate children. You don't hate children, do you?

    And once more from TFA:
    An executive of one Internet provider that was represented at the first meeting said Mr. Gonzales began the discussion by showing slides of child pornography from the Internet. But later, one participant asked Mr. Mueller why he was interested in the Internet records. The executive said Mr. Mueller's reply was, "We want this for terrorism."
    And we segue straight from the 'Lovejoy Gambit' to the '9/11 bloody shirt'. How relentlesly predictable.
  • Mycarthyism.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beheaderaswp (549877) * on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:39AM (#15453334)
    It's nothing but Mycarthyism.

    We just jumped back 50 years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:44AM (#15453363)
    The executive said Mr. Mueller's reply was, "We want this for terrorism."

    At least he told the truth, perhaps though he should have lied better and said "We want this to *fight* terrorism."
  • What's the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bombula (670389) on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:47AM (#15453380)
    I'm not sure I really see the value of this information. Sure, some crackheads end up on Fark.com for showing their ID to the teller while robbing a bank, but the real pedaphiles and terrorists of the world don't do regular google searches for "how to build a bomb" and "kiddie porn" from the computers in their homes. To think there will be any significant amount of useful data collected in this fashion is, well, fairly retarded in my opinion.

    I can see this data being useful retroactively for things like criminal profiling and possibly being valuable for targeted marketing analysis, but not for catching child molesters and terrorists.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:49AM (#15453399) Homepage Journal
    Just like the warrantless phone monitoring, just like law enforcement officials can now invade your home without a warrant to see if there is evidence of a crime so they can get a warrant, this is not a fishing expedition.

    Nor are we trying to track where everyone goes or what they read. We're ensuring that everyone is fully protected from those bad, bad terrorists. You know, 9/11 and all.

    You see, people want to be free. We're ensuring they can be free by these actions. All we ask is that people understand that we're in it for the long run and ask for their patience while we administer these proctology exams.

    Just remember, 9/11 was a wakup call [democratic...ground.com]. We can't let these terrorists take our freedoms away.

  • by lbrandy (923907) on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:52AM (#15453438)
    I can see this data being useful retroactively for things like criminal profiling and possibly being valuable for targeted marketing analysis, but not for catching child molesters and terrorists.

    That's not what it's being used for. It's being used to prove people are child molesters. As in, the think you are a child molestor, show a judge their evidence, get access to your web records. In that sense, it is "retroactive". They aren't, however, doing proactive searches through it to find child pornography.
  • by w33t (978574) on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:54AM (#15453451) Homepage
    The best thing you can do with your browser is to write your congressperson [house.gov] and paraphrase some of the more cogent arguments for privacy; many are and have been presented here on slashdot.

    This website can be quite a trove of insight.
    --
    Music should be free [myspace.com]
  • by netsetboy (978741) on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:54AM (#15453453)
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. These people are just going to far...! We need to start blasting ISP's with so much email that they finally get the picture, that we don't appreciate being spyed on...!
  • by Il128 (467312) on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:55AM (#15453464) Journal
    A record of all of your Internet activity, phone calls, convictions, allegations, magazine subscriptions, library records... Privacy? What's privacy daddy?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:56AM (#15453470)
    They're asking this data be retained so that **IF A COURT ORDERED SUBPOENA IS ISSUED** the information will be available. Worried by that? It's quite simple, really. Don't prey on children and don't plan terrorist acts and you'll be fine.

    Yes, because people never abuse power. Ever.
  • by XMyth (266414) on Friday June 02, 2006 @09:58AM (#15453491) Homepage
    Wow. You are amazingly shortsighted.
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:01AM (#15453509)

    They're asking this data be retained so that **IF A COURT ORDERED SUBPOENA IS ISSUED** the information will be available. Worried by that?

    Given this administration's shocking contempt for the legal system thus far, yes, I am worried by that. They've collected enough data without having to resort to the 'headache' of due process through the courts...do we really need to make more available to them?

    It's quite simple, really. Don't prey on children and don't plan terrorist acts and you'll be fine.

    I'll ignore your reference to the Lovejoy gambit and proceed directly to your statement about terrorism. Have you read Patriot Act I and II? If you have, you'd know that the new definition of a 'domestic terrorism' is "any action that endangers human life that is a violation of any Federal or State law". You'd also know that anyone who fits this ridiculously broad definition of 'terrorism' can now be considred an 'enemy combatant' and stripped of their U.S. citizenship and rights. Under current legislation, a person could be legally held indefinitely without trial for something as innocuous as speeding.

    If you don't trust the courts to work properly, then your issue is much bigger than this request/legislation.

    In that, you're absolutely correct.
  • by ptbarnett (159784) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:02AM (#15453514)
    Don't prey on children and don't plan terrorist acts and you'll be fine.

    From TFA:

    At the meeting with privacy experts yesterday, Justice Department officials focused on wanting to retain the records for use in child pornography and terrorism investigations. But they also talked of their value in investigating other crimes like intellectual property theft and fraud, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, who attended the session.

    "It was clear that they would go beyond kiddie porn and terrorism and use it for general law enforcement," Mr. Rotenberg said.

    ---- end cite.

    The problem with a "surveillance state" is that the collected information can be abused by the people that collect it. And worse: over-zealous law enforcement can find sufficient evidence of a crime anywhere they want, given the vagueness of many statutes.

  • by Kadin2048 (468275) <.slashdot.kadin. .at. .xoxy.net.> on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:04AM (#15453533) Homepage Journal
    Oh yes, because no government agency would ever abuse its powers [wikipedia.org].

    Any information that's saved, will be used: if you think it will just be to go after "terrorists" and "pedophiles," you're hopelessly naive. (Or rather, if you think that the definitions of 'terrorist' and 'pedophile' aren't sufficiently vague that they can be easily expanded at will to include pretty much anyone unpopular, you're deluding yourself.)

    Reading your comment again I suspect IHBT, though.
  • by RsG (809189) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:05AM (#15453544)
    Subpoena? You mean like the ones used by the NSA monitoring? Where is that due process thingy again? We seem to have forgotten it somewhere...

    Besides which, even if people don't prey on children or plan terrorist acts, what's to stop the **AA from using the greater data retention in the next batch of lawsuits? After all, they can get subpoenas too.

    Pedos and terrorists are convienient excuses. The number of actual, real, internet predators and terrorists is very very small. Most violent or sexual crime is in no way related to the net - and most terrorists could easly commit crimes using low tech means (like, oh say, boxcutters, maybe?).

    And most child molesters aren't random scary strangers - they're people the victim knows and trusts. The best way to limit the number of molested children would be to force people to get a license before having children, and force people in positions of trust with children (teachers, preists, etc) to undergo rigorous psychological testing. What's that you say? That would violate their constitutional rights? Well tough titty - it's for the children, so that makes it OK.

    The reason that laws governing the internet get passed, and laws limiting parenthood don't even get proposed, is that the former are politically easy to sell, and the latter would rightly be seen as oppressive and illegal. It's just more examples of politicians crying "oh won't somebody think of the children" as a way to get elected - because politicians are inherently dishonest and lazy.
  • by stankulp (69949) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:07AM (#15453555) Homepage
    Transfer the costs of spying to the ISPs.

    Priceless.
  • If and only if (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dereference (875531) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:07AM (#15453557)
    If you don't trust the courts to work properly, then your issue is much bigger than this request/legislation.

    Despite your intended meaning, truer words have never been written. Indeed, as you might have noticed, many of believe there might just be a much bigger problem here. So what exactly should we do about it? Well, I figure it makes a whole lot of sense to start by rallying support against this particular request/litigation. That's what this whole democracy thing is supposed to be all about, no? Write your representatives; make sure they actually represent you, and vote them out if they don't.

    Worried by that?

    Actually yes, and I take it you're not.

    Don't prey on children and don't plan terrorist acts and you'll be fine.

    Ok, I know now why you're not worried. I guess we're all safe then. The government shall protect us from all the bad people. Ah, the good old "if we have nothing to hide then we have nothing to fear" rhetoric. I'll see your trite remark, and raise with a "let them put cameras in every room of your house" counter. By the way, it's not at all a bluff; I don't think you've been paying much attention to the control some parts of the government have been trying to exert over the populace (yes, I said control; ubiquitous monitoring is a natural first step).

  • by QCompson (675963) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:07AM (#15453563)
    Putting aside for a second just how effective this data retention would be in catching child predators and terrorists, the probability of the DOJ and police forces abusing this vast database of information is staggeringly high.

    Law enforcement agencies love pursuing internet crime because it is so exceedingly easy for them to do. They can sit behind a desk, eat doughnuts, and bust a bunch of teenagers on Myspace for posting a picture of a pot plant or a 16 y.o. boobie. Giving them mandatory data retention for two years would make their jobs easier still. If I was convinced they would be going after actual terrorists and real child-abusers then I would perhaps be more understanding, but I don't want the privacy rights of all americans sacrificed so the cops can bust a few more dumb teenagers and closet-perverts.
  • Copykats (Score:3, Insightful)

    by liangzai (837960) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:13AM (#15453628) Homepage
    Can't you guy invent your own stuff rather than taking our Snow White, our democracy, our data retention initiative...?

    Let me quote Thomas Jefferson (younger people can e-mail me and I'll tell you) to show you how perverted you Americans have become lately:

    "It has been pretended by some, (and in England especially,) that inventors have a natural and exclusive right to their inventions, and not merely for their own lives, but inheritable to their heirs. But while it is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from nature at all, it would be singular to admit a natural and even an hereditary right to inventors. It is agreed by those who have seriously considered the subject, that no individual has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land, for instance."
  • by Xehn (669415) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:16AM (#15453655)
    The democrats aren't any different, they're just Kang to Bush's Kodos. Remember, Clinton was in office when the NSA Wiretapping began, (not to mention when the DMCA was written). The democrats aren't the answer, and thinking that they are is playing right into their game. The two major parties have BOTH been taking turns eroding our rights for generations. Just swapping out one set of criminals for another wont change anything. Doesn't the public see this? How can our collective memory be so short? The Democrats piss us off, so we elect Republicans, they screw something up, and hand back off the the Democrats. Rinse, repeat (always repeat). This has been going on for a VERY long time. If we want real change, we need to have some MAJOR housecleaning in Washington. Stricter term limits, tighter reigns on corruption and lobbying, maybe actually USE all of those checks and balances our founding fathers so thoughtfully provided us. The real source of our problems here are not the terrorists, the Bush Administration, the Republicans, the Democrats, or even the corporate lobbyists - it's US - the American People, for buying into their crap, time after time after time.
  • by CreatureComfort (741652) * on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:28AM (#15453784)

    No. "Big Brother" just ensures that everyone is a documented lawbreaker, and that documentation can be used to harrass, blackmail, or remove anyone who offends the ruling power.

  • by kbuckalo (411216) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:31AM (#15453798) Homepage
    I am the owner of a small ISP in Santa Cruz, California. We get a couple/few subpoenas a year from the FBI, like most ISPs. My concern with data retention of logs, which is what is being asked for here, is: 1. privacy - 'nuff said 2: the cost to the ISP.

    We're a small ISP, and we keep a week or two of backups and it's already several terabytes. Now, the feds want us to extract all the access, email and web log files from the backups and save them from 2 years. There's a couple thousand ISPs in the US, spread this cost over the US industry, and you are looking at millions, perhaps tens of millions of dollars per year in additional storage and staff costs.

    As a final point, I have 3 kids. Anyone invites me to a meeting and opens it with slides of child porn and my one thought is they are sick sick sick. Most of the people "invited" to the meeting are probably parents, you can sell anti-child porn without showing it to us! What does it say about our AG that he supports torture and has a collection of child porn which he shows to people?
  • by SubRosa (976527) <sub.rosa@projectwhitenoise.org> on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:34AM (#15453826) Homepage
    I can't fathom that even Shrub's henchmen are dumb enough to think that it's remotely practical to capture *all* data going over the wire -- that would be an insane amount of storage. Unless their plan is to put ISPs smaller than the AOL, the big telcos, and cable companies out of business.

    So that leaves, what, stream data? What kind of info is available from a stream capture? Originating/destination IP addresses and ports, time/duration of connection, and maybe number of bytes transferred?

    I need to get off my ass and get my site's mixmaster reamiler up and running in order to contribute my part. This government shit's getting spookier by the day!

  • Inflationary risk (Score:2, Insightful)

    by babanada (977344) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:37AM (#15453856)
    There is an inflationary risk to retaining this data. ISPs will need to pass this cost along. I'd like to see some of these costs layed out. Who will pay? As an added bonus, with the new fabulous AJAX stuff y'all are putting in, everything I didn't push submit on could still be archived. Think about that.
  • Wow. You are amazingly shortsighted.

    Mod this puppy WAY up.

    Gonzales has already said [bloomberg.com] that the lack of data retention has already hurt child pornography investigations, practically blaming the ISPs for hindering an investigation - and who want's to look like they're aiding the criminal?

    This half porn/half terrorism is rediculous. Next they'll be saying hate speech, or arson investigations, or whatever - must... retain... records...

    Can = will with the government, which is why record retention is so damned scary. Just like with the Wired article about the surveilance (sp?) conference recently - if they CAN spy on you, they WILL, which has been proven time and again in the very, very recent past.

    Child porn my ass. Control the populace - call it what it is.

  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:44AM (#15453925)
    "It's quite simple, really."
    At least you had one sentence that wasn't asinine. It is simple, really. An administration that has already proven that it does not feel bound by warrants and due process wants private citizens to keep a lot of information on other private citizens, and at their own expense, in case the govt wants to look at it later. It is simple--they don't want to fund this, don't want it covered by pesky due process or oversight by the judiciary or legislature, and don't want any accountability when abuses occur. Simple as can be. Now, the other stuff you said was just stupid.
    "Don't prey on children and don't plan terrorist acts and you'll be fine."
    The administration has already put antiwar groups (such as the Quakers, known terrorists all) under surveillance. So your point is simply wrong. Are you just ignorant, or are you lying from political motives? What is it about a Republican presidency that makes people forget that governments will abuse the power they have? Do you get special Kool-aid that makes you forget the obvious? No government in history has really been trustworthy, and all government is hostile to freedom. Has a fairy godmother come down from heaven and blessed this one so it's immune to the human fallibility, arrogance, and secretiveness that has plagued all the other governments in history? What is it about George Bush that makes conservatives want to give him authority unchecked by due process, separation of power, and public scrutiny? Has that whole "power corrupts" idea been rescinded? I didn't see that memo. Did I miss something?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:45AM (#15453929) Homepage Journal
    Republicans have also depleted the National Guard local militias who are trained and equipped to stand up to government forces. While training government forces to attack, kill and torture civilians in sub/urban as well as rural theaters.

    Republicans would like nothing better than an armed American milita, easily suppressed by the Marines, to justify martial law and the roundups of liberals^Wsubversives.

    The time when armed private Americans could stop government tyranny is long gone. Gun owners traded that protection for cheaper, easier commerce in hobby guns - a deal Republicans were happy to offer.
  • by kfg (145172) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:56AM (#15454037)
    . . .anyone who fits this ridiculously broad definition of 'terrorism' can now be considred an 'enemy combatant' and stripped of their U.S. citizenship and rights. Under current legislation, a person could be legally held indefinitely without trial for something as innocuous as speeding. . .

    . . .without judicial oversight or representation. Say hello to "Judge" Dredd.

    KFG
  • by Zenaku (821866) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:58AM (#15454055)
    Listen, the two parties are both. . . well, major political parties and thus primarily self-interested. But it's naive to equate them, there are important differences in what they will and won't do.

    More to the point though, I have to take issue with your saying "Clinton was in office when the NSA Wiretapping began" because it is misleading and completely skirts the real issue of why all of us so-called tinfoil-hat-moonbats are pissed about it. YES, the NSA have been wiretapping forever. They're the freakin' NSA -- of course they have.

    The thing is, under Clinton they did so in compliance with the laws passed by congress to provide oversight in the form of the Foreign Intelligence Serveilance Act, which created a secretive court to issue the warrants. Under Bush, they decided to skip the bit about a court issuing a warrant.

    For me, the issue is not the surveillance, and it isn't even the warrant. (I do think there should always be a warrant, but if congress specifically passed legislation exempting the NSA, I'd have less of an issue with it). The problem for me is the total break-down of our three-tiered system of government. The executive MUST either get the approval of the court, or get the legislative branch to change the requirements of the law. It can't simply assert that the law only applies when the president says so, as W. seems to think with his signing statements.

    The Democrats will do everything they can within the system to look out for their own self-interests, yes. They are politicians, after all. But the Republicans will completely disregard the system to look out for their own best interests. One of those is way worse for us than the other.

  • by Plugh (27537) on Friday June 02, 2006 @10:59AM (#15454074) Homepage
    Quoth "netsetboy":
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    These people are just going to far...!

    Oh, you finally noticed, that, eh?
    Yes, the US Constitution is really quite shocking in that it would make the government hamstrung and inefficient -- if they spend their time worrying about this "Goddamn Piece of Paper", they'll never catch the Bad Guys in time!

    Of course, that was the intent -- make it so freakin' clear as day that the government should not be efficient, should be thwarted in its natural desire to run roughshod over the citizenry.

    But what percentage of the US population is even vaguely aware of the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights? How many even understand the difference between the fact that these rights are stated to make them clear to all, not to "grant" them?

    The dismal answer, of course, is: not enough to make a damn bit of difference. Despite 35 years of the Libertarian Party trying to wake people up to the issue, the erosion of liberties in the US has continued apace. If things keep going as they are, the us will be a Fascist state (if it isn't already).

    People of the United States! Realistically, you have two basic options!

    1. Keep doing what you're doing, and going where you're going -- to a wierd mix of Fascism (Republicans) and Socialism (Democrats) and a tiny, impotent group of Libertarians
    2. Concentrate the free-thinkers in a State that still has some vestiges of a Culture of Liberty [freestateproject.org]

    The choice is yours!

  • Re:Feel Safer? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by (trb001) (224998) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:08AM (#15454176) Homepage
    Actually, true conservatives, which the Republican party used to be made up of, do that...there's plenty of fuel [amazon.com] in the argument that Bush and Co. aren't true conservatives, never were.

    --trb
  • by vertinox (846076) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:15AM (#15454251)
    If you don't trust the courts to work properly, then your issue is much bigger than this request/legislation.

    Well... To be fair. Nazi courts during WWII worked properly, efficiently, and as intended by those in power. Everyone simply just trusted them to work without question.

    Although, in a big pile of irony, the Allies put the Judcial system on trial [wikipedia.org] after the war for crimes aginast humanity.

    And to really be fair, our judicial system is nowhere near that type of system which is why we need to question its authority every day.

    Don't prey on children and don't plan terrorist acts and you'll be fine.

    Really now... Is terrorist and child predators that big of threat? Did we run out of communists? The worse thing that could come out of this is that we don't have any terrorists or child predators to throw in jail which leads to these huge security organizations twiddling their thumbs and deciding to make up targets in order to justify more funding.

    The probelm with government is that if they don't spend their money or do anything, then they loose their funding. If there are no criminals, predators, or terrorists to go after they will have to create them to continue their employement.

    God forbid we ever live in a peaceful and lawabiding world where we don't need this kind of security.
  • by jrockway (229604) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:16AM (#15454258) Homepage Journal
    > No. "Big Brother" just ensures that everyone is a documented lawbreaker, and that documentation can be used to harrass, blackmail, or remove anyone who offends the ruling power.

    This, to me, is the scarriest thing that a government can do. Pass laws and then say, "well it's OK, we're not going to use this against people". What? Don't pass laws if you're not going to prosecute every violator. Otherwise it sounds like you're saying, "this law shouldn't affect people that don't cause any controversy... we're only going to use it to take down people we don't like". Great, just great.

    If every law were actually enforced, they would go away when people got fed up with them. Imagine every jaywalker going to jail -- jaywalking wouldn't be illegal for much longer after W (or someone else important, not one of us pleebs) had to spend time in a cell overnight.

    Speaking of which, I think it's time to start filing lawsuits against the government for all these bullshit laws that are passed. I'm sure there are plenty of other laws that make these laws illegal.
  • by Tony (765) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:21AM (#15454320) Journal
    What does it say about our AG that he supports torture and has a collection of child porn which he shows to people?

    That he's a self-important, selfish, fascist, sick fuck?

    But we already knew that.
  • by edunbar93 (141167) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:30AM (#15454417)
    The government seems to think it has a problem here. The phone company has had to track each call made, because of the nature of the system and the nature of their billing. The telegraph before it had the same kind of accounting. No other communications in the history of the world has had this kind of surveillance. Now that the government is used to the convenience of using phone records against criminals (and honest citizens too, lately), they see this brand new medium called the intarweb and wonder why they can't track it too.

    Funny how they *don't* also wonder why they can't reliably track down snail mail to its sender, and aren't threatening the USPS and UPS with legislation to do so or else. And this is despite the fact that you can send bombs, funny white powders, and other biohazards through the mail to terrorize the population. That's really not something you can do with e-mail.
  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:46AM (#15454574)
    McCarthy didn't just "disagree" with the President. I'm not suggesting that a random person off the street should be jailed for preferring chocolate though the President likes vanilla. McCarthy said that the President was aiding the Communist party. He also claimed the right to leak any information he wanted, refuged to divulge a leak within the State Department, etc. And McCarthy wasn't a private citizen--he was a Senator, and so bore a public trust. My point was that he attacked his own President, without foundation, and for his own political gain. My tone was a little over the top, because I was trying to show that, per the standards held by so-called conservatives today, McCarthy was a traitor. Today, to question the President, question the war, question why our natinal debt is so large, anything, is to expose yourself to accusations of "aiding the terrorists." Well, McCarthy qualifies. The attempt to find Soviet agents was made more difficult because of the stigma of McCarthyism.

    If a Democratic senator, say Senator Clinton, stood up today and said "I have here a list of 213 card-carrying members of Al Queida working from within the U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Defense, and I have proof that President Bush has been working to futher the hold of Al Queida on the U.S. government..." and so on, yet refused to actually hand over any information, refused to divulge where this alleged information came from, and so on, there is no way in bloody hell any conservative, or any liberal, or anyone else, would call this Senator an American hero. They would be vilified, and rightly so.

    Yet because the government is so large, it's highly likely that somewhere there are a few people, here and there, who are sympathetic to what Al Queida is doing. Would we then say "well, the Senator was right, after all..."? No, we wouldn't. McCarthy is not someone to be admired, regardless of your political persuasion.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:05PM (#15454762) Journal
    That's why the goddamn solution is to write the fucking law and make sure the retained data can ONLY be subpoenaed in the course of a child pron/abuse investigation.

    Seriously, if it's such a good idea, write a well thought out law and apply it. I'm tired of these goddamned power grabs.

    I mean, this shiat isn't that hard, but like TripMaster Monkey said, "if we 'persuade' the Internet companies to retain this data for us 'voluntarily', then we can act without restraint or oversight"

    There is a reason companies all over America decided not to retain stuff like that for more than [arbitrarily short period of time, except where mandated by law].

    I'll give you a hint: It had to do with police subpoenas of records.
  • Re:Article Text (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:21PM (#15454933)
    > The executives spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they did not want to offend the Justice Department.

    Why. If they're doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to hide.

  • by AusIV (950840) on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:00PM (#15455334)
    I have to agree with the guy who got modded down to zero, but I don't think you're completely ignoring his last line:

    If you don't trust the courts to work properly, then your issue is much bigger than this request/legislation.

    This piece of legislation is not the problem. If it were really going to be used in the ways they claim it will be used, it would be a decent piece of legislation (although an inconvenience to ISPs). It would help put predators behind bars, and potentially disrupt terrorist attacks. The problem is, as JonTurner suggested, much bigger than this legislation. The problem arises when AT&T gives the NSA any information they ask for without going through proper channels. The problem is that we can't trust our government not to use things like this against people who disagree with them politically. We shouldn't sit here and oppose small pieces of legislation like the one in question, we need to be looking at the bigger issue.

  • by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:14PM (#15455485)
    WHY exactly does the Attorney General of the United States spend so much time looking at child porn? And why isn't he getting arrested when he clearly admits to it? I fail to see a single situation in which the AG needs to directly see images of child pornography in order to accomplish his job.
  • by BalanceOfJudgement (962905) on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:44PM (#15455786) Homepage
    "is it actually legal for them to send US citizens to as prisoners to Guantanamo?"

    It's UNCONSTITUTIONAL for them to send ANYONE to Guantanamo and hold them as prisoner without trial. Read the Bill of Rights. The word "citizen" is not used ONCE. This is on purpose - the founders wanted ALL HUMANS to have these rights, not just CITIZENS.

    Why? Because the British government had similar laws written to protect CITIZENS - so all the British did during the colonial days was revoke someone's citizenship to strip them of that legal protection.

    Sound familiar?

    The founders didn't want the government to be able to do that to ANYONE - which is why they used the word 'person' instead of 'citizen'. And lo and behold, what has the Bush Administration done? Declared "enemy combatants" to be stripped of their rights.

    Unfortunately for him, that doesn't relieve him of the Constitutional protections set up in the Bill of Rights. The federal government is not allowed to hold ANYONE the way they are holding these people. No law passed by Congress (*cough* PATRIOT ACT *cough*) can trump the Bill of Rights; only another Constitutional Amendment can do that, and there aren't any that strip you of your right to a public and speedy trial.

    I can't wait for someone to successfully sue the federal government for these violations. Unfortunately, the now-conservative Supreme Court will just say "Oh, well, that's fine. NO biggy, you can fuck over the American people any way you want"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:45PM (#15455809)
    Anyone invites me to a meeting and opens it with slides of child porn

    It used to be called "extortion" but I believe the fashionable term is "terrorism" (as "Is in this information going to be used for anything other than Saving the Children? Yes, we intend to use it for terrorism."). It is essentially the same as going into the meeting with pictures of a brutal torture/murder and saying "this guy didn't make his payments."

    Somebody should press charges: this was an exhibition of child pornography...let the court decide if it was warranted. Meanwhile, someone should sieze the AG's laptop or at least make it public that this creepy f*** is walking around with a taxpayer-sponsored laptop full of kiddie porn.

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